Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sister Queens

I'm currently working on two costumes with a good friend of mine, Vicky, for Costume Con 31 in Denver this year. The year for me is 1502 and the portrait is of Katherine of Aragon, before she was Queen of England, and still just a young lady. For Vicky it is 1495, and Katherine's older sister, Juana of Castile, more commonly (and unfairly) known as Juana la Loca.

I have never worked in this era before, the earliest costume I've made has been Elizabethan, specifically in 1570s, so I was scared to approach it an also very intrigued. They do not have the same undergarments, and there are no corsets or farthingales yet. We have decided to had some small boning to the kirtles (the second of four layers) to help support our busts a little and prevent the sides of the gown from bunching when the layers are either laced or hooked. I have purchased the long necklace for Katherine's gown from an Ebay seller that does "chain maille" necklaces, in a Byzantine style. The "K" necklace she wears I will be creating out of square filigree pieces. Juana's necklace we found mostly as it is, but we will be adding the pearls through a method of sewing them into the filigree around the Amber stone. 

Juana's dress is a little different than Katherine's, but we found we can for the most part use the guidance of Reconstructing History pattern 613. The pattern's pieces are tremendously helpful, but I unfortunately cannot say the same about the pattern's directions. There have been several occasions where we have wasted much time trying to decipher what she is trying to tell us to do and going online to see if anyone else has had the same issues. The back of the pattern also gives you the lowest number of yardage for the costume that will be needed, while the inside directions give you a more accurate amount (which is off by 2-3 yards is some cases if you are a larger lady like me). It is indeed the type of pattern that should be examined profusely before any purchasing of fabric, or cutting of said fabric is done.

I won't be posting any WIP pictures until after the Convention as we do plan to compete these, but here are my drawings of how we have decided to create the bottom half of these dresses, after research of how they might have looked was done.

Our belted ties are going to be made out of silk, the over gowns are made out of velvet (cotton), and the under layers are made out of linen or silk. Juana's dress you can see the sleeves, so we know there is fur lining, fitted silk under sleeves, and a white smock. You can't see this with Katherine's dress but we wanted the similarity between the dresses, to help enforce the "Sister Queens" title in our entry into the Masquerade, so we did the same thing for Katherine's dress. Juana's dress is earlier than Katherine's, but we are keeping the wider middle layer (black for Juana) and higher, peeked overdress of Juana's bodice, which is period for the earlier year. Pictures to come after we compete!

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